Design:

Part 4 of Building a Successful Website: Testing & Launch

Sarah Porter
  • Senior Designer
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Having covered the research and planning, design and content stages, I’ll now wrap up the series with the final stage of building a successful website:
testing and launch.

After combining high-quality, original content, with a beautifully effective web design that will knock your audience’s socks off, the next step is to test it all out…

Proof reading is a vital stage of testing your website. If there are spelling mistakes floating around, intermingled with grammatical errors, it suggests you don’t care about the details. If you’re sloppy in your copywriting, what impression does that give about your business?

It’s not just the text on the front-end of your site that needs to be proof read though. Title tags, meta descriptions and image alt tags all need to be filled-in and error-free; consistency of writing style should stretch to these elements too. Remember, having a logical naming practice for all images will give a better impression if a user carries out an image search or saves an image directly from your site onto their desktop.

All images should be checked to ensure they are displaying beautifully. Striking the right balance between file size and quality is key; if your images are saved at a low enough file size to keep your page loading quickly, but at a high enough quality to look crisp and sharp across multiple devices, then you’re winning!

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Any contact forms should be tested to make sure the filling-in process makes sense and that all fields work properly. It is also particularly advisable to check that the data is actually being sent to the appropriate place.

Checking for bugs, broken or incorrect links and for compatibility across different browsers and devices is vital before launch. This should have been monitored throughout the process, with any potential problems having solutions put in place along the way, however a final check is always worthwhile.

Finally, don’t overlook the favicon! Tiny as it is, this small piece of browser-tab branding is the finishing touch that we expect from any professional website.

When all checks have been made and the time finally comes to launch, you can start analysing the success of your website. Setting up analytics prior to launching will mean you’re able to track your site’s performance. Monitoring this information will give you a deeper understanding of how users are interacting with your website and allow you to plan improvements to any areas that aren’t giving you the desired results.

As much as I’d like to say that now is the time to sit back and relax, realistically, this isn’t the case. A website needs to be constantly updated to keep the content fresh – with news stories and blog posts for example – and monitored to ensure it’s always performing well in search engines.

Stand still and the world will pass you by… this is particularly true in the fast-moving world of digital. So, do take time out to celebrate your website launch (you deserve it!), just don’t consider it the end of the process.

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